What is the best lens for close up surf photography? This is a question that comes up time and time again, and it may sometimes seem like an easy one to answer but it really isn’t so straight forward.
Focal Length Considerations
A few things to consider, one being what camera are you shooting with. Is it full frame or cropped sensor. Why would this matter? Well on a cropped sensor a 20mm lens is more equivalent to around 35mm actual focal length.
Is a Fisheye the Only Option
Fisheyes used to be the norm in surf photography, and most certainly have their place, especially for those heaving shorebreaks. Unfortunately since the advent of the incredible little GoPro, that fisheye angle has become a little tired. Not to fear though with the huge range of options for DSLR shooters, there is always an alternative.
You can always look at something longer such as a 20mm or 30mm lens, this will help set you apart from the norm, not by much but just a bit. It will show a totally different perspective of a wave and the surfer. I suggest going for the fastest lens you can, and pairing this with a fast focusing body.
Things to Consider
Your shooting aim will need to be a lot more accurate with anything longer than a fisheye. I have jumped in and shot a bunch of photos only to be disappointed when back on the beach. I aimed to low on 90% of the images, cutting off peoples heads. This can only be solved with time in the water and really getting to know your gear.
Best Lens checkpoints
Will it give you a different angle of view from everyone else.
Is it wide enough to get that in barrel feeling.
Can I portray that feeling of being inside the wave.
Don’t forget to have a look at my post on how to avoid water drops on your images.